Does Weight Watchers owe you an apology? In a dramatic move, the CEO of Weight Watchers issues a public apology for its past stance on weight loss, and describes a new plan for moving forward. If you are a current member of WW or have been one in the past, you’ll want to read this.
- FREE! Lastest WW Updates
- Weight Watchers CEO Sima Sistani Apologizes
- Changes in How We View Weight Loss
- A New WW Approach with Prescription Weight-Loss Drugs
- Oprah Weight Loss Drug Announcement
- Is Weight Watchers In It for the Money?
- What Members are Saying
- My Beliefs – From Someone with a WW Before & After Success Story
Weight Watchers CEO Sima Sistani Apologizes
Weight Watchers has issued a public apology for its past approach to weight loss.
The apology from CEO Sima Sistani is ground-breaking and controversial. Here is a two-minute video clip of the interview with Sistani and a reporter from CNN Business.
The Weight Watchers weight loss program is known for its points system and community support. The trademarked food tracking system will remain in place, and the current program will not change this year.
Meetings will continue, both online and in person, although many local meeting locations have been closed in favor of a stronger emphasis on online support.
Still, it’s obvious that WW is embracing change by incorporating the option for prescription weight loss drugs like Wegovy, Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Zepbound through the program Sequence.
Changes in How We View Weight Loss
WeightWatchers is trying to be at the forefront of a new wave in weight management with the use of GPL-1s (such as semaglutide) for weight loss. These medications have been used for diabetic patients for almost 10 years and have recently been approved for weight loss.
For many people, the weight loss on GLP-1s is dramatic. More than just reducing appetite, users describe a reduction in “food noise” like obsessive thoughts about food and compulsive eating behaviors such as binge eating. (The medications are also being studied for use with other addictions like alcohol and gambling.)
The WW CEO Sistani admitted that Weight Watchers inadvertently contributed to the shame some members felt if they did not have success with the program.
She says the company has learned from its past and wants to do better.
Sistani says prescription medications are a necessary and life-saving answer, not a cosmetic fix. She says it’s time for a shift in perspective.
“We’ve been treating these medications like it’s a vanity. And it’s not: It’s lifesaving.”Sima Sistani, CEO of Weight Watchers, November, 2023 in a CNN interview.
According to Sistani, WW will shift its approach, with the belief that obesity is a chronic condition for many individuals. She stated, “For many who are living with obesity, it’s a chronic condition, and therefore, it is not a choice.”
Sistani’s wording about obesity as a chronic condition is important, because GLP-1s are considered an ongoing medication that needs to be taken long-term, if not for life. Once people stop taking them, research shows that weight is quickly regained.
A New WW Approach with Prescription Weight-Loss Drugs
Is Weight Watchers selling diet drugs? Yes….and no.
With the Sequence program, members may consult with telehealth doctors who can prescribe prescription medications for weight loss and diabetes. The program is optional and has an additional fee, plus the cost of medication if it’s not covered by insurance.
Medications are not distributed at meetings, from WW coaches, or through the WW company directly.
Even with Sequence as an optional program, this is a huge shift in strategy from a company that formerly promoted diet and exercise as the way drop pounds.
Now, Sistani says that WeightWatchers can offer a higher level of assistance by providing the option for weight loss medication along with promoting healthy food choices and physical activity.
Oprah Weight Loss Drug Announcement
On December 14th in a People magazine exclusive about Oprah Winfrey and weight loss medication, Oprah revealed that she is taking prescription weight loss drugs while under the supervision of her doctor.
This is a dramatic shift to her previously stated opinion that use of weight loss drugs is like cheating.
Oprah is a WW spokesperson and owns a share of the company.
Is Weight Watchers In It for the Money?
At the end of the day, Weight Watchers is a business, and the goal of any business is to make money.
While WW may be embracing a more open-minded view by admitting that not everyone can achieve weight loss with willpower alone, it’s also true that this is obviously a strategic business plan.
Have they taken it too far, in a move that will alienate loyal members? That is yet to be determined.
What Members are Saying
All of this change, especially with the recent closing of many local WW meeting locations, plus the end of the Weight Watchers food products, has left members doubtful and worried.
Many people are seeking WW alternative options, like the app Healthi.
Yet others embrace the change, whether they choose to personally take medication for weight loss or not. They see it as one more tool that is available for those who want it.
My Beliefs – From Someone with a WW Before & After Success Story
I have been a Weight Watchers member (off and on, like many of us) for over 20 years. I lost 120 pounds by counting points and am maintaining at Lifetime and my goal weight.
I did not use medication during my weight loss process. If these drugs had been available when I was 250+ pounds, and my insurance paid for it, I’m sure I would have taken them.
I felt desperate and hopeless at that point, which is why I empathize with the hundreds of people who email me regularly and express their frustration, depression, and guilt about their body struggles.
I get it, friends. I hear your heart. You are not alone.
Weight Loss is Hard
I’ve been open about the fact that maintaining at my goal weight is not easy. While I have achieved food freedom and weight loss success in ways I never dreamed possible, it’s also true that I have not “arrived” at some magical dream place with food.
- Maintaining at goal requires daily, intentional work and effort every – single – day.
- I count point daily, often pre-tracking what I will eat the next day.
- A good amount (too much?) of my energy, focus, and effort goes into staying within a healthy weight range.
- I deal with real physical hunger and a high food drive. In the last couple years, with the help of additional therapy, I’ve released embarrassment and guilt about that.
We’ve Got to Do Something
Obesity rates in the United States and other developed countries is at an all-time high. Rising rates of childhood obesity are serious. The cost is tremendous, both personally and as a society.
Whether the answer is weight loss medication or something else, the truth is that we’ve got to do something.
Never before in history has a majority of the population had access to (fairly) affordable calorie-dense foods in the way that we have access now. The sad reality is that this blessing and abundance is killing us.
Shame Never Works
I embrace WW’s stance to release shame.
Shame NEVER works for weight loss (or anything else for that matter). If shame worked, most of us would be happily thin by now, because we’ve been putting ourselves down about our weight for years. (Can you relate?)
Weight Loss Drugs are a Tool
Believe it or not, I am not opposed to weight loss medication or weight loss surgery. I know that might surprise some people. I believe the new GLP-1 medications may be lifesaving for many.
However, this a serious decision that is best to discuss with your doctor. These meds have serious side effects, are expensive, and have to be taken for life in order to keep the weight off.
- Are weight loss meds a cure for weight loss problems? Absolutely not.
- Are they a quick fix? No.
- Could they be a help along your weight loss journey? Perhaps, yes.
- Would weight loss medication alone have fixed my weight problem? No. I had spiritual, emotional, and mental health work that needed to be done in order for me to stop the ways I was using and abusing food.
You Belong & Are Accepted Here at The Holy Mess
Here at The Holy Mess, you are important. I care about you.
Often we have people who email us and say, “I don’t know if a real person will actually read this…” Guess what? We do.
- If you take weight loss medication, we accept you.
- If you don’t take weight loss medication, we accept you.
- If you are at your goal weight, we accept you.
- If you are overweight, we accept you.
- If you overeat, binge, are food-obsessed, or addicted, we accept you.
- If you feel hopeless about your body, we accept you.
Shame is a tool of the enemy and will never be used or tolerated in this space for any reason.
Weight loss meds are a controversial topic, and this is a safe place where you can share your opinion, vent your frustrations, and express your concerns. As long as it’s done in a respectful way, your voice will be heard here.
I’m not going any where. No matter what happens with WW, I’m here to support you. I’ve been using this website to help people for almost 10 years and by the grace of God, every year we have grown. I’m sticking around for the long haul, and I hope you’ll come with me for the ride.
Now, it’s your turn. What are your thoughts about the Weight Watchers apology? Share in the comments below.
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